Cry Me an Onion Contest!!!

April 1st, 2009

Living through the cold, dreary winter of Chicago has led me to start using Peapod to order my groceries.  At first I was hesitant because I love going to the grocery store.  But soon I became hooked.  When it is below zero and snowing, I love not treking to the store for food.  Of course, once it gets warm and I’m not as busy with school, I’ll resume grocery store trips.  Sometimes, ordering food online has its negatives…

For example, this last week I misread my order… I assumed that I was going to be getting 1 yellow onion but instead, I received 1 3 pound bag of yellow onions… huh!  What does a girl do with 3 pounds of yellow onions?

J had a great idea…. why don’t you put it on your blog and ask your readers?  I knew there was a reason I was dating him…haha! So, I’m going to have a little contest… Cry me an Onion Contest…

Please enter by leaving a comment or emailing me (Ginnygetsfloury AT gmail DOT com) with a recipe involving yellow onions.  I’m looking for some quick, comfort foods that are budget conscious.

I will make up to three recipes, post the results, and link back to your blog.  On April 30th, I will randomly pick a winner from all the responses… The prize will be VEGETABLE LOVE!!!  It is a really neat cookbook with all sorts of vegetable recipes, including onions.  I bought it once as a present for a friend and hated giving it away.   Now, I must do it again.  Maybe I should get two this time…

For more Onion info check out the National Onion Association.

P.S. This may be kinda quirky but this is not an April Fool’s joke.  I really have a ton of onions that need to be used!  So, send me your recipes please!

Empanadas…

March 11th, 2009

One night, I was out with my friends and all of a sudden we lost a friend of ours.  We stop on the sidewalk, trying to figure out where he went and all of sudden, he appeared with a bag in his hand.  He had found some empanadas!  I had never tried one but that night I had my first taste of a chicken empanada.  It was delicious!

This summer, J’s mom taught us (J, his sister and her boyfriend) how to make different types of empanadas: beef, corn and ham, spinach and cheese.  The making of empanadas is fun… Standing around in the kitchen, we made fun of each other as we attempted to fold them… J’s mom is excellent at folding but the rest of us need a bit of practice.  All the types were really good.  I think I liked the corn and ham the best.

While in Argentina, J introduced me to the beautiful thing that is delivery empanadas… yes, that is right!  They deliver delicious, hot empanadas right to your door.  We tried about every type possible.  Overall, my favorite is onion and cheese… can’t get enough of them!

Argentine Empanadas

(from J’s Mom)

To make an empanada you need to make a dough and a filling. After they are put together, you can bake or fry them.

Dough

1 cup shortening, melted

2 eggs

2 cups of flour

2 teaspoons of salt dissolved in 1 cup of warm water

  1. Mix all together with hands.
  2. Leave for an hour at room temp.

In order to prepare the dough into empanadas, you need to make circles with 5 ½ in diameter. In the middle of the circles, you will place a tablespoon of filling.  There are two methods to make the circles.

Method #1:

  1. Divide into little balls
  2. Roll out with rolling pin into circles

Method #2:

  1. Roll out into one big piece
  2. Cut into circles (Diameter 5 ½ in). Use a bowl to be a guide
  3. Keep rolling out the dough and cutting circles until the dough is all used up.

Fillings

You can fill the empanadas with the same type of fillings or play with a few variations. Each filling recipe will make about 15 empanadas. After the preparation of the filling, you must let it cool. You can prepare the filling the day before and put it in the fridge.  You can even freeze it and thaw it when you want to make it.  

Beef Empanadas

  1. Fry 2 chopped onion and 1 crushed garlic clove with 2 tablespoon oil until tender
  2. Add 1 chopped red sweet bell pepper
  3. Mix in 1 lb ground beef
  4. Season with salt and pepper
  5. Add 2-3 chopped hard boiled eggs, ½ cup olives, ½ cup raisins and 1 teaspoon cumin.

Tuna or Chicken Empanadas:

  1. Fry 2 chopped onion and 1 crushed garlic clove with 2 tablespoon oil until tender
  2. Add 1 chopped red sweet bell pepper
  3. Mix in 1 lb ground chicken or canned tuna (2 10oz cans)
  4. Season with salt and pepper
  5. Add 2 fresh chopped tomatoes, 1 teaspoon Basil, and 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper.

Ham and Cheese Empanadas:

  1. Fry 1 chopped onion and 1 crushed garlic clove with 2 tablespoon oil until tender
  2. Mix in 1 lb ham (cut into little pieces or strips), 1 teaspoon nutmeg, 1 lb Ricotta cheese and 1 cup shredded provolone/mozzarella.

Corn Empanadas:

  1. Fry 1 chopped onion and 1 crushed garlic clove with 2 tablespoon oil until tender
  2. Add ½ lb ham (cut into pieces or strips) and 1 lb corn
  3. Season with Salt and pepper
  4. Mix in 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  5. In 1 ½ cups milk dissolve 2-3 tablespoons flour.
  6. Mix in with the corn mixture.

Spinach Emapandas:

  1. Fry 1 chopped onion and 1 crushed garlic clove with 2 tablespoon oil until tender
  2. Mix in 1 lb mushrooms or 1 lb spinach and 1 cup of cheese.
  3. Add 1/2 lb ham and/or hardboiled egg, if you want.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.

Onion Empanadas:

  1. Fry 2 chopped onions and 1 crushed garlic clove with 2 tablespoon oil until tender
  2. Mix in ½ lb ham and ½ lb of shredded cheese
  3. Add two eggs to pull it together
  4. Season with salt and pepper

Putting them together

  1. Lay each pastry on a flat surface
  2. Place 1 tablespoon in the center of the circular dough
  3. Fold dough over in half, wetting the edges a little with water and make edges meet in a semi-circle over the filling
  4. Press edge with fork or fold over with fingers.

To see how to fold properly check out here.

In Argentina, they fold the empanadas by folding over with their fingers.  This is called Repulgue.  The empanadas come with a guide so that you know what type you are trying.  If you make different fillings of empanadas, then you can differentiate them by a different fold or design.  What we did was poke holes in the empanadas with a toothpick in order to differentiate the types.  For example, 2 for spinach, 3 for corn, and 4 for beef.

FRY:

  1. Heat 3 cups of oil in medium high heat. Be careful with frying because it is very hot and you can burn yourself.
  2. Put empanadas in hot oil until gold.
  3. Remove and place on paper towel to absorb the oil.

BAKE:

  1. Spray with vegetable spray
  2. Bake at 350° for 20 min until golden.

IRELAND: PART II and a recipe

August 11th, 2008

The thing I miss most about traveling and moving happens to be the lack of time and often space to cook. When I returned from Ireland, I couldn’t wait to get all floury again and I made Challah. With the some leftovers and the “starting to go stale” challah, I made a really good brie and balsamic onion sandwich that I chowed down as I packed. Now for the rest of Ireland…
Off I went to Galway, a fun, university town on the Western Coast. I spent my days roaming around the town, falling asleep by the river and doing a bit of shopping. I had two fabulous meals…One day for lunch, I stumbled into Anton’s Cafe, a cute and artsy cafe. Craving avocado, I decided on the Smoked Bacon, Avocado & Beef Tomato with Red Onion Marmalade sandwich. It was very good. A few days later, I had a lovely dinner at Ard Bia. This cute restaurant sits on the river near the Spanish Arch. It is like walking into the dinning room of your favorite artsy, bohemian and eclectic friend. Nothing traditionally matched but all the tables and decoration created a welcoming and comforting atmosphere. I had to wait for a moment as the servers finished writing down the menu on the blackboard, which was then placed in a chair next to me so I could decide what to order. I chose a seared white fish fillet with lentils and a fresh summer salad. It was a wonderful meal. They even had fennel and pomegranate seeds in the salad…yummy!
During one of my days in Galway, I took a day trip around the Connemera…a beautiful part of Ireland with mountains, hills and ponies. We went to this Franciscan Abbey and the Kylemore Abbey (below). The countryside was gorgeous!
After Galway, I went back to Dublin for a few days. I went shopping, got my haircut and saw a great art exhibit at Chester Beatty Library and Gallery of Oriental Art. I saw this cake in the window of the cafe, Leon, and like every good foodie…I stopped in for a slice. Although the picture is quite blurry, I think it speaks for itself. Yum!
That kind of sums up the highlights of my trip…The best part of my trip though, which I can not show you in pictures, was the many different people I met. I stayed in hostels and every night I would meet a new crew of people from Germany, France, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Switzerland…and the list goes on. Often, we would go sit at the pub together, meet the locals and listen to the music. These people made my trip very fun and interesting. I have many memories and new friends that I will not forget.


Brie and Balsamic Onion Challah Sandwich

2 slices of Challah
Balsamic Caramelized Onions (Jennifer’s recipe)
1/2 Vidalia Onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
2 slices of brie
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1. Peel the Onion and cut in half. Slice the onions into strips.
2. In a frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and sautéed the onions moving the onions around with a spatula until they soften and brown.
3. Drizzle the onions with the balsamic vinegar and mix with a spatula.
4. Cover the pan and stir occasionally until the onions have caramelized. Season with salt and pepper. Move to a dish.
5. In the same pan, toast the bread and melt the brie on both sides. Sprinkle with the Italian Seasonings.
6. Top with the onions and eat.

P.S. For more photos from Ireland, check out my flickr.